Last week, observing Charles’ numerous adventures with quince, I realised I had almost forgotten to talk about my last year’s quince-infused vodka, which, after a year’s aging has become an subtle, highly aromatic, slightly sweet and beautifully, amber-coloured drink. I know quince (Cydonia oblonga) is not very popular worldwide, so for those who have never seen it, here is a photo of a ripe and big specimen I took last year:
Quince’s form is a cross between a pear and an apple. The fruit is usually covered in whitish fuzz, which is easy to remove. This magic fruit is practically inedible when raw due to its excessive tanginess, but, once cooked or transformed, it gives miraculous results. This is mainly due to the quince’s complex and strong aroma, slightly reminding delicate honey, but also to its tanginess, particularly appreciated in preserves. Apart from the quince infused vodka, I have made two absolutely fabulous preserves: quince jelly and quince sauce. Both have a strong aroma, beautiful colours and a very subtle pleasant taste.
I have got the below vodka recipe from my mum, who learnt to make it several years ago when one of her friends started to give her quince from her orchard. I have slightly modified it, browsing through the home liquor makers. Contrary to certain fruit-infused vodkas, this one requires lots of patience, but it’s totally worth it.
If you want to make a fruit-infused vodka ready to drink very soon, I recommend the Mandarin Peel Vodka, which is very easy and gives a very aromatic and impressive results. Orange Vodka is not as spectacular, but also excellent, while the frozen Sour Cherry Vodka is extraordinary, impresses every guest and can be prepared all year long.
Preparation: 3 1/2 months
500 g quince
500 g sugar
at least 750 ml vodka (see the exact amount below)
Wash the quince, taking off the white fuzz. Cut the fruit roughly into pieces, removing the pips and the stalks (also the remains of the flower), but without peeling.
Put the quince into a big jar and cover with the sugar.
Place the jar in a warm (not hot) place for 4 weeks, shaking every day so that the sugar is well dissolved.
After 4 weeks, strain the juice, weigh it and put into the fridge.
Put back the quince pieces into the same jar and cover them with vodka, (the same weight as the juice you have previously put into the fridge).
Leave in a cool place for 45 days.
Strain, combine with the juice.
Pour 500 ml vodka over the remaining quince and wait one more month before straining it and combining with the previously infused alcohol and juice.
Bottle and wait a couple of months before tasting (keep it somewhere you will easily forget it).
The fruit can be used in cakes (whole or mixed into a sauce).